There is more to Elevation Burger than just the burgers! Those who are Elevation Burger hard core fans know that. They have either enjoyed Elevation burgers made from organic free-range, grass-fed beef, have been to one of Elevation’s sustainable, environmentally friendly resturants, or witnessed how Elevation Burger partnered with a local farm to start growing organic potatoes right here in Kuwait!
Recently, we have identified that there are people beyond our fan base who carry similar values as Elevation Burger’s, and care deeply for the quality and source of their food, as well as the environment. These people ask questions, and seek knowledge constantly to improve their quality of life, and the quality of life of their loved ones and communities.
So, it was only natural that we at Elevation Burger take the next step and introduce people in Kuwait, Elevation fans and all, to the Elevation Burger way of life. Through our Planet Elevation initiative, we wanted people to imagine a planet where Elevation Burger rules, a planet where a good idea matters, a child’s smile matters, quality of food matters, food safety matters, your health matters, and the future of our community matters. We then ran various activities across Kuwait to bring this idea closer to home.
We did not settle for a few activities though, as fun as they were. On Planet Elevation, the free range way of life is cherished. And the Elevation Burger team wanted to introduce it to the people in Kuwait, and have them see it for themselves, and understand what living free range means for their food, health, environment and future. The people in Kuwait were about to view an entire ecosystem from raising the cattle, to processing the meat, and later to authenticating it as halal. This entire experience was brought to their mobile screens and a touch of their fingertips.
The Elevation Burger team was on a mission, the #LivingFreeRange mission. And any mission done well, required a great team, so we flew along with leading local social media, and health and fitness figures all the way to Queensland, Australia to experience first hand the ecosystem behind Elevation Burger’s 100% organic, grass-fed, free-range, halal beef.
The team consisted of Hamad Al Ali, Dr. Abdullah Al Mutawa, Ansam Al Radwan, Najat Al Sayegh, Abdulrazzaq Al Mutawa, Abdulrahman Al Khalifi, Mohammad Al Ali, and from TABCo Food, CEO and co-founder Ali Ashkanani, and Hessa Al Jeeran.
After 45 hours of flights and off road truck trips, we finally arrived at the first station, the Aussie term for a free-range cattle ranch. There, we met the family who owns and operates the property. The station was established in 1937, is 58.89 square kilometers in size, and has more than 30,000 cattle. Although the station is maintained by only a single small family of five, the territory extends beyond the horizon, as seen from the family’s home patio, overlooking the property.
As we made our way through the landscape, we were greeted by a herd of cattle, grazing on the foliage under the warm Australian sun. Observing these wild independent animals as they enjoyed their natural habitat is at the heart of Elevation Burger’s values. That scene, was a reminder for each team member of the #LivingFreeRange mission.
At the station house, the family operating the station, warmly welcomed us into their home. And shared with us many anecdotes about the organic cattle raising history and heritage. All this was done over a lunch of barbequed, hand-made Elevation Burgers, prepared from scratch with fresh ingredients and local organic halal beef.
Fourth Generation Family
Of course one station was not enough for a team on a mission. So, the following morning we set off from the hotel to our second destination. This station, also family owned and operated, is divided into multiple locations, with different members of the family overseeing each location. First stop was the home belonging to the grandparents. We spoke with them about the family traditions of organic cattle raising and how their sustainable cattle raising practices have provided a home and way of life for their family for over four generations!
Next, we met with their son, Kash, and his family at the second location. This brought us to our most up-close and personal encounter with the cattle. We had a chance to approach multiple cattle, face to face, on foot, as they grazed and walked freely over the terrain. After that encounter, Kash noticed that some of the herd had been separated, so he took some of the team in his buggy, along with his trusted shepherd dog, Henry, to find and retrieve the missing cattle.
Kash explained that this is one of the beautiful parts of free range living, the animals are treated humanely, graze without restrictions and are able to travel across the wide landscape on their own, without fear of confinement or industrial feeding facilities. Also, that free range cattle are not vulnerable to the dangerous mad cow or E. coli diseases. As risk of catching those decreases dramatically and is almost non-existent in grass-fed, free-range cattle, unlike cattle that is grain fed and raised in industrial farms. He also mentioned that any free-range station emits less CO2 than factory farms, which is better for the environment.
In case you are still wondering, thirty minutes later, Kash located the small group of cattle, and Henry led them back to the herd, where they continued their open air grazing.
At this point, the team returned to the family home and ate lunch. During lunch, the grandfather surprised us with a visit in his helicopter, which he landed next to the house. He explained that he uses the helicopter to observe and monitor his herds of cattle across the station. The grandfather displayed great pride in his ability to safely and efficiently protect his cows and track their feeding habits.
A visit to the abattoir, was next on our plan. We were greeted upon arrival, and asked to sign a pledge of confidentiality. On one of the walls, there were four shelves filled with international certificates and awards. The facility’s adherence to the highest quality standards and Halal authentication practices, was further demonstrated when the facility manager asked everyone to leave their electronic devices, cameras, mobiles phones, watches, earrings, bracelets, and even their shoes behind, in the meeting room. Each team member then slipped into sanitized gloves, special boots, white robes and hair nets instead.
We were split into two smaller groups. The first group included Ali, Ansam and Hamad, and their visit of the abattoir started at the end! They got to trace the process from packaging, all the way back to a living cow. The second group included Hessa, Najat, Dr. Abdullah and Mohammad, and they were guided through the process from beginning to end. Each group was accompanied by a guide to ensure that the team would get sanitized again, as they move from one section to the next, and to answer their questions.
We witnessed a very intricate process, from the carving of different meat cuts, and categorization of meat cuts, to packaging, scanning, labeling and chilling. One thing for sure, that conveyor belt never stopped. The abattoir resembled a big, white, extremely sanitized bee hive. Every single person, had a clear task and carried it out accurately. We said goodbye to the facility manager, the guides, and Othman, the muslim butcher we befriended. A trip to the Gold Coast was next.
A Way Of Life
Listening to the families talk about their passion for organic beef, free range cattle raising, and seeing how sophisticated the process of preparing the beef. We were reminded of how important it is to align our values with our mission. After all, that is what Elevation Burger is all about, and what Living Free Range is all about. We hope people who have followed our journey and adventures, learned a few things about the source of their food, specifically our burgers and its nutritional value.
Living Free Range is letting things be the way they are supposed to be, free from artificial imposed chemicals, or restraints. #LivingFreeRange is so natural, it is a way of life.
We would like to thank our hosts who spent months helping us organize for this trip, driving us around, accompanying us throughout the trip, and making sure that everything goes as planned. Thank you Simone, Marg, Matt and Jason.